The Chief of Army Staff, lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, has said the Nigerian Army has concluded plans to review the Harmonised Terms And Conditions of Service (HTACOS) for officers to address the Commission of Female Regular Combatant Officers in the service.
Buratai said this has become necessary as the first batch of female regular combatant officers currently undergoing training at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) would soon complete their training and commissioned into the Nigerian army.
The army chief, who made this known while addressing officers at the just concluded chief of army staff combined second and third quarter conference, also said the army would review its training curricula, especially in the area of deployment in view of operational exigencies to accommodate the the female officers.
Buratai, while assuring the desire of the army to resume the admission of female regular combatant cadets in line with global convention on non-discrimination against women in national service, said “the issue regarding their deployment in view of operational exigencies has necessitated a review of their training curricula as it concerns the Nigerian Army”.
“I have, therefore, directed the convocation of policy guidelines to augment the provisions of HTACOS (officers), which will address the peculiar nature of their commission vis-a-vis their employment in service.
“It is, thus, the desire of the Nigerian Army to resume the admission of female regular combatant cadets in line with global convention on non-discrimination against women in national service,” he said.
To ensure young Nigerian army officers are grounded in the rudiment of regimentation and meet contemporary security challenges, Buratai, said he has designated 20 Bn located in Serti, Taraba State, as a Model Battalion to “instill the rudiments of regimentation into young officers in the field as well as new graduands from the NDA”.
He reiterated the resolve of the Nigerian army to continue to provide effective service delivery through value re-orientation, exemplary leadership, patriotism, innovation, high standard of training, operational efficiency and discipline.
Recall that former president Goodluck Jonathan had, in February, 2011, directed the military high command to commence, with immediate effect, the enlistment and training of female combatant cadets at the NDA.
This, according to Jonathan, was to pave the way for highly competent and skilled female officers of the Nigerian armed forces to aspire to the highest echelon of the nation’s military force.
He noted that before now, openings for female officers in the armed forces had been limited to non-combat duties which had, hitherto, grossly limited women’s career paths in the military, irrespective of their talents and skills in professional soldering.
Speaking at a briefing to announce the commencement of training of female cadet officers at the NDA, the Minister of Defence at the time, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode said the move was designed to address the lopsided opportunities in the armed forces, wherein only male officers of the military forces were given chances to aspire to head any of the military services or even rise to become chief of staff of the country’s defence machinery.
The former minister, while noting that the training of the female regular combatant cadets, along with their male counterparts at the prestigious NDA, where female officers would be expected to pass out with requisite degrees in their chosen academic fields and become regular combatant commissioned officers of the nation’s armed forces, said although the country’s military force has women in highly technical and strategic fields who had been commissioned into various services in the past, the armed forces never had women as regular combatant officers. He added that it was only officers in the regular combatant cadres that were, hitherto, statutorily accepted to aspire to the highest echelon of the country’s military force.